Australian superstar Steve Smith has been ruled out of the upcoming limited-overs fixtures against Pakistan due to discomfort in his previously troubled left elbow.
Following Australia’s historic Test series win in Lahore on Friday, Smith has decided to fly home alongside Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and David Warner, with the latter four taking rest from the white-ball matches. Notably, Glenn Maxwell is also absent from Australia’s limited-overs squad after getting married last week.
Smith will be replaced by Queensland leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson in the squad for the upcoming three-match ODI series, starting March 29, and a one-off T20I will begin on April 5. All the white-ball matches will be hosted by the National Stadium in Karachi.
Smith expressed his disappointment at not playing the limited-overs matches stating it wasn’t a major issue, but he didn’t want to risk it as well. It was revealed that after Australia’s win in the Lahore Test, the New South Wales cricketer had experienced some discomfort throughout all three Tests.
“It’s disappointing to miss these matches against Pakistan, but after chatting with the medical staff, I can see the need to take a break at this time. I do not regard this as a major issue, but by staying on top of things now, we can ensure that it doesn’t become something more significant further down the line,” said Smith as quoted by Cricket.com.au.
Former Aussie skipper George Bailey, who is currently the Chairman of Selectors, said there was no need to risk Smith in the next four matches considering the amount of cricket Australia are expected to play from June onwards.
“With the significant amount of cricket to come over the next 18 months, and the fact he has had an issue with the same elbow previously, it is appropriate for Steve to return home at the end of the Test series in Pakistan,” said Bailey.
“We have opted not to name a replacement batter as we feel we have options within the existing squad, and Steve’s absence offers up additional opportunities to players within the group. We have decided to include Mitchell Swepson in the white ball squad because it will offer us additional options in the bowling department on surfaces that may well assist spinners,” he added.